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text 2019-05-21 08:32
Calling All Voters: Pick My Audiobook for Square #100!
Lies Sleeping (Rivers of London #7) - Kobna Holdbrook-Smith,Ben Aaronovitch
Proof - Simon Prebble,Dick Francis
Caravan - Roslyn Alexander,Dorothy Gilman
Who Slays the Wicked (Sebastian St. Cyr #14) - Davina Porter,C.S. Harris
Pick My Final Audiobook Listen for Snakes & Ladders
"Lies Sleeping" by Ben Aaronovitch
"Proof" by Dick Francis
"Caravan" by Dorothy Gilman
"Who Slays the Wicked" by C.S. Harris
 
Created with QuizMaker

 

 

I stole Ani's excellent formatting design for this post, and I've got my fingers crossed the poll works for me.  There's a solid lineup of great authors and narrators here, so step right up, folks, and cast your vote for my final S&L audiobook listen! My lovely snake charmer is standing by to tally up the results and will announce the winner on Wednesday (5/22).     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lies Sleeping by Ben Aaronovitch

Kobna Holdbrook-Smith (narrator)

 

The Faceless Man, wanted for multiple counts of murder, fraud, and crimes against humanity, has been unmasked and is on the run. Peter Grant, detective constable and apprentice wizard, now plays a key role in an unprecedented joint operation to bring him to justice. But even as the unwieldy might of the Metropolitan Police bears down on its foe, Peter uncovers clues that the Faceless Man, far from being finished, is executing the final stages of a long-term plan. A plan that has its roots in London's 2,000 bloody years of history and could literally bring the city to its knees. To save his beloved city, Peter's going to need help from his former best friend and colleague - Lesley May - who brutally betrayed him and everything which he thought she believed. Far worse, he might even have to come to terms with the malevolent supernatural killer and agent of chaos known as Mr. Punch....

 

 

Proof by Dick Francis

Simon Prebble (narrator)

 

After a shattering accident plunges a society soiree into chaos, an unassuming wine merchant is left with the bitter aftertaste of suspicion and fear. While catering an outdoor party for a prominent horse trainer, Tony Beach hears rumors of inferior whisky being sold under premium labels. All of that is forgotten, however, when a runaway horse trailer suddenly ploughs into the guest-filled tent. Later, after the last victim is pulled from the debris, he begins searching for answers to both the fraudulent spirits and the disaster. As Tony follows up leads, he finds himself pulled deeper and deeper into a treacherous world filled with greed, deception, and unspeakable murder.

 

 

Caravan by Dorothy Gilman

Roslyn Alexander (narrator)

 

A lushly romantic adventure story set in the North African desert in 1914, told by the impeccable Lady Treal as she reminisces in her London town house about her decidedly peccable past... With her anthropologist husband murdered and their caravan stolen by fierce Tuareg tribesmen, Caressa's choices are death or a life of slavery. Concealing her dangerous beauty beneath the faded robes of an Arab boy, she embarks on the adventure of her life, harassed by fierce nomads, slave traders and the envious witch doctor, Isa. Only a handful of carnival magic tricks stand between her and oblivion. Then she discovers an inner magic so mysteriously compelling that the desert people call her a sorceress. With it she will secure her freedom and discover the love of her life....

 

 

Who Slays the Wicked by C.S. Harris

Davina Porter (narrator)

 

When the handsome but dissolute young gentleman Lord Ashworth is found brutally murdered, Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, is called in by Bow Street magistrate Sir Henry Lovejoy to help catch the killer. Just seven months before, Sebastian had suspected Ashworth of aiding one of his longtime friends and companions in the kidnapping and murder of a string of vulnerable street children. But Sebastian was never able to prove Ashworth's complicity. Nor was he able to prevent his troubled, headstrong young niece Stephanie from entering into a disastrous marriage with the dangerous nobleman. Stephanie has survived the difficult birth of twin sons. But Sebastian soon discovers that her marriage has quickly degenerated into a sham. Ashworth abandoned his pregnant bride at his father's Park Street mansion and has continued living an essentially bachelor existence. And mounting evidence - ranging from a small bloody handprint to a woman's silk stocking - suggests that Ashworth's killer was a woman. Sebastian is tasked with unraveling the shocking nest of secrets surrounding Ashworth's life to keep Stephanie from being punished for his death.

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text 2019-01-01 07:28
24 Festive Tasks: Books Read
Reflex - Dick Francis,Simon Prebble
Persons of Interest - Gildart Jackson,Peter Grainger
A Grave Matter - Anna Lee Huber
Lane: A Case For Willows And Lane, Book 1 - Peter Grainger,Henrietta Meire
A Christmas Carol - Simon Prebble,Charles Dickens
The Man with the Sack - Margery Allingham,David Thorpe,Soundings
Trojan Gold: The Fourth Vicky Bliss Mystery - Elizabeth Peters,Barbara Rosenblat
Cherringham - A Cosy Crime Series Compilation: Cherringham 4-6 - Neil Richards,Matthew Costello,Neil Dudgeon
The Hanging Tree - Ben Aaronovitch

 

One of my New Year's resolutions is to get my shelves updated. I'm going to make an effort to do a better job than I have been doing the past 6-8 months.

 

So... I did listen to about 4-5 audiobooks in both November and December, and all but one of those titles will fit the book tasks for this year's 24 Tasks of the Festive Season. I'll try to put up brief reviews this coming week - I was out of commission with the flu and then back issues for over two weeks in December - but for now I'm just going to match up my books/reads with the various holidays.

 

 

Melbourne Cup Day: Book About Horses - Reflex by Dick Francis

 

Advent: Fourth Book in a Series - Persons of Interest by Peter Grainger

 

St Andrew's Day: Book Set In Scotland - A Grave Matter by Anna Lee Huber

 

Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Book with a Strong Woman Character

     Lane by Peter Grainger

 

Christmas: Book About Christmas - A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

 

Yule and Solstice: Book Set In December - The Man With the Sack by Margery

     Allingham

 

Dia De Los Muertos: Reread an Old Favorite by a Deceased Author - Trojan Gold by

     Elizabeth Peters

 

 Russian Mother's Day: Book Where a Key Character is a Mother - Charringham 4-6

    by Neil Richards and Matthew Costello

 

Guy Fawkes Night: Book Set in the UK: The Hanging Tree by Ben Aaronovitch

 

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE HERE ON BL!

 

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review 2018-11-16 19:40
24 Festive Tasks: Doors 3, 21 and 24 - Books for Melbourne Cup Day, Kwanzaa and Epiphany
Field of Thirteen - Dick Francis
The Guards - Ken Bruen,Gerry O'Brien
The Clock Strikes Twelve - Diana Bishop,Patricia Wentworth


Dick Francis: Field of Thirteen

I've owned this collection of short stories since forever and decided our Melbourne Cup Day book task was the perfect occation so pull it out and finally read it.  Candidly, I'm not sure why Dick Francis didn't write more short stories: both his style of writing and his plot construction lent themselves perfectly to the short form, and I tend to view even some of his novels as short story constructs extended to novel length rather than books conceived as novels in the first place (even though they probably were).  Be that as it may, this is a very enjoyable collection featuring some of Francis's best writing, set in the world of racehorse breeding (and stealing and betting), and against the great race events of Britain and the U.S., from the Grand National, Ascot, Sandown Park, the Marlborough Racing Club Gallops, Cheltenham and Stratford to the Kentucky Derby, plus the odd imaginary racetrack (unfortunately, not also the Melbourne Cup).  Not all of the mysteries involve a death, and not all the deaths that occur are caused intentionally -- word to the wise, however, steeplechase racing is a hazardous sport for humans and horses alike, and Francis makes no bones about this particular fact.

 


Ken Bruen: The Guards
(Narrator: Gerry O'Brien)

Ken Bruen's Jack Taylor series has been on my radar ever since I watched the first episode of its TV adapatation, starring Iain Glen.  The Guards provides as gut-punch an opener as is conceivable to the series; we see how and why Taylor is dismissed from the Gardaí Síochána, and though the motif of the loner detective who struggles not only at socializing but also with a range of other things, most notably including full-blown alcoholism, is a veritable staple in today's detective fiction, I can think of few other series where particularly the protagonist's addiction is explored this forthrightly (well, OK, Harry Hole comes to mind).  Taylor is -- literally -- not afraid to pull punches, but he is fiercly loyal to those to whom he feels loyalty is due ... and ready to take his loyalty all the way if necessary.  I've never been to County Galway, where the series is set, and I can't shake the feeling that I'd get even more out of it if I had, but even so, this is one series I'm glad to have finally added to those that I'm now following (and I'm not exactly sad I have a bunch of installments to catch up on first).  Gerry O'Brien's narration, too, did a stellar job in transporting the book's tone and atmosphere.

 

I listened to this for the Kwanzaa square (a book with a black cover). 

 


Patricia Wentworth: The Clock Strikes Twelve
(Narrator: Diana Bishop)

This came with high praise from both Tigus and Moonlight, so I knew I had a lot to look forward to -- and I was certainly not disappointed!  This is a New Year's Eve story and the "family patriarch publicly announces 'I know someone here has betrayed family interests and you've got until midnight to come forward and confess your sins'" classic mystery plot variant ... seriously, someone should have told those Golden Age family patriarchs not to do this sort of thing because it'll invariably get them killed.  Anyway, Wentworth had comfortably settled into her formula by the time she wrote this book, and I agree with Moonlight -- this is now my new favorite entry in the series, too.  Though written strictly to Wentworth's formula (cozy rural setting with bickering family [or village population], lovers to (re)bond, a reasonable but not impenetrable amount of red herrings, a perhaps not entirely unexpected villain, and an investigation by thoroughly compentent police inspectors who are, nevertheless, easily "bested" by Miss Silver), the characters and their various conflicts are finely and credibly drawn and jump off the page as real people ... and Miss Silver, as always, is a sheer delight.  Well done, Maudie!  And Patricia -- and Diana (Bishop), whose reading of the Miss Silver books I've thoroughly come to enjoy.

 

I'm counting this book towards the "Epiphany" square of "24 Festive Tasks" (a book with the word "twelve" in the title).

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text 2018-11-09 00:30
Reading progress update: I've read 80 out of 289 pages.
Field of Thirteen - Dick Francis

Reading this for the 24 Festive Tasks Melbourne Cup Day square: A set of 13 short stories set in the world of horse racing.  One of them (Blind Chance) I recently read, under a different title (Twenty-one Good Men and True), as part of the Verdict of Thirteen anthology for the Halloween Bingo "13" square and won't be rereading it.  The others are new to me, though, and so far very enjoyable.

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text 2018-01-09 10:53
Six Favorites of 2017
Soldier of the Mist - Gene Wolfe
The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories by Liu, Ken (March 8, 2016) Hardcover - Ken Liu
700 Sundays - Billy Crystal
The Underground Railroad - Colson Whitehead
The Wide, Carnivorous Sky and Other Monstrous Geographies - John Langan
Whip Hand - Dick Francis

These are the six best books I read (for the first time) last year.

 

Soldier of the Mist - Gene Wolfe  Soldier of the Mist - Gene Wolfe  

 

Combine the Greek pantheon with an amnesiac soldier trying to discover himself and you get one of my new favorite fantasy novels. Wolfe has a reputation for both beautiful prose and unreliable narrators; these are on full display here. This was the first novel I've read by Wolfe; it will not be the last.

 

The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories by Liu, Ken (March 8, 2016) Hardcover - Ken Liu  The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories by Liu, Ken (March 8, 2016) Hardcover - Ken Liu  

 

A brilliant collection of short stories, some magic realism, most SF. Tears through quite a few subgenres, including alternate history and cyberpunk. Themes of alienation, parenthood, and racism repeat throughout.

 

700 Sundays - Billy Crystal  700 Sundays - Billy Crystal  

 

A beautiful, and hilarious, remembrance about the author's parents, especially his father. There are a few painful moments, but also a lot of laughs.

 

The Underground Railroad - Colson Whitehead  The Underground Railroad - Colson Whitehead  

 

The first Pulitzer-winning novel I've read, this is a fantastic piece of magical realism / speculative fiction, with an emphasis on racial prejudice. This book imagines the Underground Railroad as a literal train route, and we follow an escaped slave on the various legs of her trip. Through various means, Whitehead examines many historical crimes against Black Americans, including several that took place well after slavery. How the author does this should be discovered through the reading; this book is magic.

 

The Wide, Carnivorous Sky and Other Monstrous Geographies - John Langan  The Wide, Carnivorous Sky and Other Monstrous Geographies - John Langan  

 

One of the best horror collections I've read in years. Many of these stories are post-modern in their approach to horror, using the genre's themes and tropes (as well as formal experimentation) to examine it. Good stuff.

 

Whip Hand - Dick Francis  Whip Hand - Dick Francis  

 

A great suspense/mystery novel that centers around horse-racing. It also deals with grief, confidence, and despair. Loved it.

 

I would highly recommend these books to anyone; they're all amazing.

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